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Love Water - what do droughts mean for landscapes?



In the midst of a drought and in the lead up to another hot Australian summer, water conservation and restrictions are no doubt on the mind of all garden lovers – including our team here at Joanne Green.


Sydney Water Restrictions

At Joanne Green Landscape & Interior the use of water is a core part of our business. Because of this, Sydney Water have granted us with an exemption which allows us to continue to use water in a limited way for our trade. This means that we can continue to plant and maintain our green spaces, although we are conscious when turning on the tap. Our team always use hoses fitted with trigger nozzles when watering gardens and ensure that taps are turned off completely after use.


What do water restrictions mean for you?

Level 1 water restrictions are in place and relate to the use of drinking water in outdoor areas. You can continue to water your lawn and gardens with the following in mind:

  • Only before 10am and after 4pm, using a hand-held hose with a trigger nozzle, or using a bucket or watering can.

  • You can water anytime with a drip irrigation system or if your watering system features either an automated weather adjustment, rain sensor or soil moisture sensor.

There are no restrictions on recycled water, greywater, rainwater or water from a bore, so these can be great options to consider if your garden requires that extra bit of moisture.


Horticultural Grade Pine Bark is another variety of mulch which can help protect a garden from water evaporation, while adding nutrients to the soil when it breaks down.


Existing Gardens

There are a number of options to consider if you have a thirsty garden which is in need of some extra water during the current drought. A few include:


Mulch: Selecting the correct type of mulch can help to reduce evaporation and retain moisture, as well as add nutrients to the soil. Early spring is the best time to add a layer of mulch to gardens.


Selective Pruning: We like to say ‘prune judiciously’. During a long drought, it can sometimes help to prune otherwise healthy plants back by about 1/3, to lessen the plant's need for water. Our garden maintenance team use their expert judgment as to which plants need this extra help. Avoid cutting back trees and shrubs as they need their canopies to prevent scorching and burning.


After a drought, if the tops of plants have suffered severe browning and dieback, go ahead and prune them back to about 150mm from the ground. In many cases, you will already be able to see new growth starting at the base of the plant - plants seem to know when they are threatened and need to reinvigorate. Also remove any dead or dying branches as they won't recover and they make good hiding places for pests and entry points for disease.


Water Crystals: An innovative product which reduces water wastage and increases the time between watering, these crystals can be easily added to potting mix when potting up plants. The crystals are child and pet-safe and last approximately five years before slowly bio-degrading into soil.


Not sure how and where to add mulch? Unsure of which plants to prune? Our team of garden maintenance professionals are filled with expertise on how to get the most out of your garden even in a dry and drought-stricken climate. Click here to speak with us on how we can improve your garden.



Succulents require infrequent watering, so are perfect for pots or places where an irrigation line is not an option.

New Gardens

With droughts and water restrictions coming into place on a more frequent basis, drought-resistant gardens are certainly becoming more sought-after.

Our Landscape Designers take into consideration a number of factors when designing a waterwise garden, to ensure that planting will suit the specific site and grow to its full potential. This includes analysing the soil type, environmental factors (such as aspect, the sun, wind and existing vegetation), considering mulch options and of course selecting appropriate plant varieties.


Water Systems: Creating a new garden is the perfect opportunity to install a rainwater tank and drip irrigation system. A small – moderate investment initially, but can allow water to be available all-year-round to maintain a healthy garden and saves time and money down the track. There are many garden styles which would benefit from some type of water system.


Mulch, compost and fertiliser: As mentioned above, mulch can be an effective option to reduce water evaporation, while compost and fertiliser can also be added to garden beds to add a protective and nutrient-rich layer. When planting new gardens, mulch, compost and fertiliser is something that should always be used.


New Lawns: Deep watering lawns (which means for longer periods but fewer watering sessions) encourages roots to grow deeper, so that over time you can water less frequently. This is a good tip to keep in mind, to prepare lawns for future droughts.


Plant selection: Plants which require minimal watering such as Australian natives and succulents are ideal in times where water restrictions are in effect as it means that your garden will still look lush.


Kangaroo paw and Bracelet honey myrtle: Australian natives are a great choice as they often don't require much water.


If you are looking at designing a new garden or outdoor living space, speak with one of our Landscape Designers to find out how we can help you create your perfect (and water efficient!) design. Click here for more.



To find out more about the current water restrictions and water-wise tips, click here.


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LICENCE NO. 42846 ABN 59 002 219 829

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10d Ponderosa Pde, Warriewood 2102

02 9979 5363  sales@joannegreen.com.au

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